Michigan now fully square with federal hemp rules

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Michigan now has an updated industrial hemp law after enactment of a bill that aligns the state’s program with final regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Gov. Gretchen Whitmer yesterday signed Senate Bill 186, which adjusts Michigan’s Industrial Hemp Growers Act.

The USDA national hemp regulations, which took effect Monday, provide industry guidance under the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp federally. Michigan’s program initially received USDA approval last October.

“This helps our hemp growers and processors ensure they’re aligned nationally and signals the importance of supporting this emerging part of our agriculture economy,” said Gary McDowell, director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). “I appreciate the bi-partisan support and swift movement ensuring Michigan’s legislative framework meets federal requirements.” 

Key adjustments to the state’s hemp program under SB 186 include: 

  • The hemp harvest window is increased from 15 to 30 days.
  • The negligence threshold for THC has been raised from 0.5% to 1.0%, based on the federal limit of 0.3%. It means hemp producers whose crops go over 0.3% but do not exceed 1.0% THC will not be considered in violation.
  • Growers can now remediate non-compliant hemp instead of disposing of it. Remediated crops require sampling to ensure compliance with THC limits.
  • The maximum number of negligent violations a grower can receive in a growing season (calendar year) is limited to one.
  • MDARD considers variables such as seed certification, grower compliance, variety performance, and other factors when developing its sampling plan for THC.
  • The grower registration cycle is moved from Dec. 1–Nov. 30 to Feb. 1– Jan. 31. Grower registrations already issued for the 2021 growing season are valid until Jan. 31, 2022.
  • Effective Dec. 31, 2022, all state laboratories testing industrial hemp, including those laboratories testing hemp throughout the growing season to monitor THC levels, must be registered with the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.

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